An exhibition in the city of Dunedin at Toitū (Otago Settlers Museum) explores the stories of enlistment and departure, conscientious objection and conscription, the horrors and honours of war. In one section titled “Dissenters” they present primary documents on those who refused to fight. The caption on the display said;
“Most Dunedin citizens strongly supported the war effort. Some small groups and individuals, however, refused to participate for political, religious or moral reasons. But there was little tolerance for dissent in wartime society. Conscientious objectors, such as the pacifist Archibald Baxter from Brighton, paid a heavy price for their stance. Irish Republicans in New Zealand were also opposed. The Green Ray, their flagship journal published in Dunedin, was supressed in 1918. Its editors were jailed for sedition.”
The exhibition includes photos of Archibald Baxter, members of the Maoriland Irish Society who supported those who fled conscription. Primary historical documentssuch as the cover of The Green Ray, and a censored letter from Thomas Cummins, the editor of The Green Ray, jailed for sedition, are on display. A newspaper article is shown that reports Mr J. A. Brailsford pleading guilty to failing to enrol for the army because he was ‘against his conscience’ and attended the Quaker (Society of Friends) church. The article shows that Brailsford was fined five pounds. Another newspaper clipping shows Kevin Byrnefined ten pounds for giving an anti-Conscription address in a public place and William Parkerbeing kept in prison and charged with seditious utterances.
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Last modified on Friday, 07 November 2014 15:54